Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Shame on you! . . . You can go!"


Update 11/20: I awoke this morning still reeling from this video—and its implications for the country.

On occasion certain images present themselves that clarify where the moral authority in a particular debate lies. With that idea in mind, I resolved to write a longer note, arguing that this video gives us that kind of imagery and adding some thoughts on how the police are dressed, their casually sadistic attitude (recognizable to anyone who's interacted with contemporary American police officers), and the students' spontaneous—and wholly successful—search for the language with which to respond to authoritarian cruelty.

But before doing my own writing I read this note from James Fallows at the Atlantic. Which makes all of my points.

This video makes it clear that our choice is simple: either we acknowledge where the moral authority self-evidently lies in this debate and proceed with the changes the occupiers demand, or we permit the United States to continue on its path toward a fascist plutocracy.

I find myself braced by the dignity and moral sophistication of these students. The Occupy Movement will triumph. It is our time's Civil Rights Movement. From what I see in this video, I'm now convinced that this country will not return to the moral desolation, the systemic injustice, the gleeful selfishness that has defined America during my generation. Change has come to America.

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